The coastal region of Kenya has been grappling with a huge youth unemployment problem, leading to high levels of poverty and an increased risk of youth getting radicalized by extremist groups. The lack of skills and opportunities has left many young people with no hope for the future.
Lifeskills Promoters (LISP), in partnership with government-run Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions, launched a youth empowerment project called 2Inuane funded by GIZ & KOICA, targeting youth aged 18 to 29 years. The project’s goal is to equip unskilled youth from poor backgrounds with the necessary life skills and technical training to secure gainful employment or start their businesses.
2Inuane project takes the youth through life skills training and career guidance, followed by three months of technical training in various artisan-level courses, including hairdressing, electrical installation, motorcycle repair and maintenance, plumbing, and hospitality. The project also teaches entrepreneurship to help those interested in starting their businesses acquire practical skills in the field.
Private business owners near the learning institutions are engaged as mentors, offering internships and eventually employing the youth graduates from the program. The project has sponsored 70% of the youth enrolled in the program to take the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) assessment, ensuring they leave the project with a globally recognized certification.
The benefits/ Results:
The project has surpassed its initial target of 1,560 youth, having reached over 1,900 due to overwhelming interest from the youth. The project offers a short course that results in direct linkage to jobs and startup kits for those interested in starting their businesses. 60% of the youth have secured jobs, while 26% have started their businesses, now having regular income to support their basic needs and families.
The life skills training component of the program has been the greatest catalyst for transformation in the youth’s lives, developing their self-efficacy, interpersonal skills, and analytical skills. Feedback from employers has also been appreciative of the conduct and behavior of the program’s graduates at their places of work.
The partner institutions, such as Sokoni Vocational Training Center (VTC), Mwabaya Nyundo VTC, Tiwi VTC, Mazeras VTC, and Godoma TTI, have benefited immensely from the project’s capacity-building approaches integrated within the program. Through cross-learning, equipment purchases, and training of their instructors on effective pedagogical skills.
An example from the Field:
Fatuma, a 24-year-old girl from Kilifi, was among the first cohort of the 2Inuane project. Having dropped out of school due to financial constraints, Fatuma struggled to make ends meet. After completing the program, she secured employment in a local hotel as a housekeeper, earning a steady income that has enabled her to support her siblings and pay for her mother’s medical bills. Fatuma has since been promoted to a supervisor position, and her dream of opening her restaurant is now a reality. She credits the project for changing her life, giving her a sense of purpose, and teaching her the necessary skills to succeed in life.